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Female Rider Sells Everything to Ride The World Solo on a Himalayan

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Following her dream of traveling the world, Noraly Schoenmaker quit her job, sold all her possessions and hit the road solo on her trusty Royal Enfield Himalayan last December. Since she set off, Noraly has been on a continuous journey covering over 16,000 km through 7 countries with no plans to stop.

The 31-year-old Hollander is no stranger to solo adventure travel, having spent two years backpacking around the world in her 20’s. A professional geochemist, she tells us that just out of college she made good money working in the gold mining industry, which allowed her to support her free spirit as she traveled the world on two feet. After going broke on the road, she returned to the Netherlands homeless and took a new job to save money in hopes of one day returning to being a full-time explorer.

Noraly Schoenmaker Riding the world on a Royal Enfield Himalayan

Noraly Schoenmaker joined the tribe of two wheels during her work stint in the Netherlands, with a purchase of a Ducati Monster 796. “I was absolutely crazy about it,” she says, but it wasn’t until a trip to India where she spent three weeks on a rented Royal Enfield Himalayan that everything came together. “I loved riding that bike so much,” she says, “and was so devastated when I had to return it that the seed was planted for something bigger. Why not buy a motorbike in India and start riding it towards South-East Asia?”


With that she returned to the Netherlands, quit her job of five years, and proceeded to sell her house and all her belongings, including the Ducati. Once free of her material life there, she bought a one-way ticket to Delhi and purchased her 2018 Royal Enfield Himalayan. While waiting in India to get permanent plates and registration for the Enfield, Noraly spent time learning how to perform basic maintenance and repairs on the bike.

Noraly Schoenmaker: Riding the world on a Royal Enfield Himalayan

“I like that it’s very cheap,” she says about the 411cc Himalayan, “especially when you buy it in India. It’s very light and easy to steer…it’s great for off-roading and it has relatively easy mechanics.”

Kitting out the Himalayan

Noraly says she’s “pimped” her Himalayan bit-by-bit as she travels, so far installing a leather seat cover, several custom-made protection parts (for headlight, brake fluid, side-stand, oil-cooler), a Powertronic ECU unit with a switch to choose between two maps, two 5-liter jerry cans, handlebar risers, Garmin GPS, Acerbis hand guards, engine guards, extra lights, a loud Gursewak exhaust “for me, the thrill of a riding a motorbike is in the sound,” and a horn that “sounds like a truck.”

Riding the world on a Royal Enfield Himalayan

Her factory-installed panniers are loaded with tools and oodles of spare OE parts, including a full clutch assembly. “Better to be prepared,” she says of her extensive kit, “because no matter what country you’re in you’ll always find a mechanic but you’re not likely to find spare parts.”

No plan is a good plan

Noraly set off with nothing pre-determined. “I had nothing planned and I still don’t. I’ve traveled solo for many years and I prefer it. Along the way you meet so many people that it’s hard to be lonely and I love to be able to decide on whatever it is I want to do.”

Noraly Schoenmaker - Riding the world on a Royal Enfield Himalayan

After departing India in December of 2018, Noraly has so far traveled through Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Oman, UAE and was in Iran when we caught up with her, awaiting news of a visa for Turkmenistan. “I just plan and organize everything on the road,” she says of her loose travel style. “And because my route is not set, I can easily change it according to circumstances.” If allowed into Turkmenistan she intends to ride through Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and then onto Europe.

Noraly has gained many unforgettable memories throughout her journey, but her most memorable experience so far is riding alone in the desert. “I’ve never done that before and on this journey I’ve already encountered two long stretches of desert: in Oman and Iran. There is just something about the endless sands stretching until the horizon and nobody else but you and your motorbike. I don’t think I will ever forget that feeling of my desert rides,” she says.

Riding the world on a Royal Enfield Himalayan

This newbie RTW-rider is keeping the world up to date on her adventures via her blog and her YouTube channel.

Noraly also offers us a huge dose of get-over-yourself inspiration: “Don’t worry too much about the motorcycle or the right gear,” she advises. “You don’t necessarily need a huge, expensive bike to take an adventure like this. I met a traveller who rode all the way from Europe to Asia on a 125cc Honda Grom. The most important thing is: JUST GO!”



Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

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